Sunday, June 14, 2009

Two years of blogging - Happy birthday to Pete Box of Analytics

What a year! I was selected for chairman of Web Analytics Association Finland by a grand jury and suddenly I found myself having conversations once in a while with Steve Jackson, Eric Peterson, Jim Sterne, Dennis Mortensen, Lars Johansson, Aurélie Pols & René Dechamps Otamendi and Avinash Kaushik. And probably a lot of other people who have had influence on my analytics skills.

Things around analytis are really heating up in Finland and I know that it has tested my family's patience a lot. But no worries my ladies, daddy is having 5 weeks' summer vacation coming up. It's really hard to conclude all the benefits from blogging. So this is quite long post, just try to hang on. You may got an idea or two. A year ago I set up some goals, now it's time to look if they were accomplished or not:
  • One post per week. Didn't happen. Actually I posted exactly same amount of posts, 30, than during first year. So I was 42 % behing my goal. But I stongly believe that my raw author data (amount of words) grew a lot. Please email me if you know an easy way to calculate raw author data.
  • Increase visits more than 100 %. Completed. Visits to my blog increased +109 %. There were visitors from 80 countries (41 last year), 4.306 visits and 3.012 visitors total, average 12 visits per day.
  • One hundred subscribers. Well, not quite. As you can see at the moment my blog is having 80 subscribers.

  • Public speaking gigs (billable and non-billable). Yes indeed. I had couple of billable speaking gigs and the rest were for marketing. We are not talking about thousands of euros...yet, but it's a good start because sometimes you have to pay for a speaking lot.
About publicity

I was speaking about search engine marketing and measuring in a e-commerce seminar for a group of people and in a Chamber of Commerce event with 135 people. You can download my SEM presentation (in Finnish, pdf file 18 MB).

I was also speaking at Internet Marketing Concerence in Stockholm about multichannel measurement and marketing optimization. Check out case SeaLife presentation. I also had a chance to represent some web analytics for Board Professional ladies and I introduced search engine marketing in a business date kind of event.

Last year my eMetrics presentation was cancelled, but this year I believe that I will get on stage at eMetrics Stockholm. WAA Finland got some visibility in media and as we speak, we are planning to have a huge, international and FREE event around multi-/cross-channel mesurement during September. If things goes well and as planned, this will be defenitely the best event for marketing and any C-level people in Helsinki during this fall.

WAA Finland arranged already two Web Analytics Wednesdays this year with almost a hundred participants each. And by the way, I had also couple of interviews for a few newspapers. You can download one short article here (in Finnish, pdf).

Analyzing visits, sources and content

Regarding to visits and content of my blog, here's an example picture on how to use standard deviation for figuring out what is a clear peak or not normal.


With this graph you can easily connect three last visit peaks over standard deviation maximum limit to following posts:

How next generation uses Internet - an interview

Recap of Internet Marketing Conference in Stockholm
Recap of Web Analytics Wednesday in Helsinki

During first year there was four posts which gathered more than 25 visits per day. Last year there has been 14 posts with over 30 visits per day. With Feedburner feed item statistics you can confirm what content has been most popular. I like most my April fool's day joke post.


After a title change of my blog I have received a lot more visits from search engines. And "brand", that means my name, related keywords had a share of 22 % of all keywords used. Google rules because it's share is 96,5 % of all search engine traffic to this blog.

Social media

During the last year the use of social media has grown a lot. I have used these powerful platforms and I see this in traffic sources where social media references are increasing. In Facebook my blog has 47 followers and in Twitter 81. I have been twittering since first of April and just now I'm getting how companies can benefit from Twitter.

Little development

During the last year my blog has been also a play ground where to test different kind of things.
Couple weeks ago I installed the new Yahoo! web analytics 9.5 version. As I have been always in business-to-business mode, I really like this last visitor details report of Yahoo! And they now have extra demographic features in like age and gender.


In order to get more visitors and social media effect, I have added the share button in the end of each post. I also use Google Webmaster tools for analyzing search engine visibility and technical optimization issues as well.

Getting some feedback

I'm not satisfied how people are reacting and commenting my writings. If you read this, please send me feedback by email, leave a comment or push the feedback button on the right. With free 4Q or Kampyle tool you can easily collect the voice of customer, as you can see from these dashboards. Of course, I would like to get the overall satisfaction and task completion rate little higher.


Goals for the next year

During the summer I will be a guest-writer to Vierityspalkki and blog of Lars. And finally, here are my public goals for the next year:
  • No more posting goals. This is a kind of hobby for me and this should be fun. I will continue posting, that's for sure, but you can expect the same frequency as so far.
  • Double the amount of visits
  • Two reader comments per post
  • Two hundred subscriptions
  • Speaking gigs plus more visibility in media
Benefits and experiences

It's really hard to sum up all the benefits and experiences, but when I look at why I decided to blog in the first place, I find some of these reasons are still valid. I want to share information and it's helping us with consulting and sales. I would like to keep this forum relaxed although writing about serious business.

I think blogging is very therapeutic stuff and is highly recommended. However, you need to find your own niche to write about and and you have to be persistant. Write about something you're very interested in and you'll find your motivation. One thing is sure: Petri Mertanen brand is in rise... : )

Saturday, June 13, 2009

How next generation uses Internet - an interview

The other day, I tried to show my sister-in-law's son, who is staying with us a while, how to use our TV and satellite receiver. 14 year old Markus said that it's not necessary - so I got curious. He said that Internet is just enough for him. I decided to do a little interview, just to study more how the next generation uses Internet. Basically Markus has grown with Internet, web has been there since the boy was born in 1995.
"Markus uses Internet 4-5 hours per day."
Mostly he is chatting with friends and playing games. His favourite website is IRC-Gallery where he likes to chat, look and comment pictures. IRC-Gallery states it is the biggest Internet community (social media site) in Finland, average user age approximately 20 years. 60 % of registered users are over 18.
"I only watch TV, maybe an hour a day, if there is no Internet access available."
Markus also likes Nettiauto and Nettimoto, where he is also looking photos of cheap cars and bikes. Markus is planning to sell his moped and get new one when he turns 15. He doesn't shop in the Internet regularly...yet. Markus uses his email just for receiving alerts from Nettimoto. Instead of writing emails he is chatting and having video calls with his friends and acquaintances.

He would like to use web, email and Messenger by his mobile phone, but since he has pre-paid SIM-card, it's not possible. Markus doesn't use other social media services like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin or blogs. He downloads music, games (and knows legas issues pretty well :) and watches funny videos from YouTube almost on a daily basis.

Sometimes, couple times per month, when he needs to find some information, Markus uses only Google. Markus is starting 8th grade in the fall and he chose to have 2 hours / week computing. I just wonder what they might teach him or is he teaching his teacher?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Recap of Internet Marketing Conference in Stocholm

Right after Web Analytics Wednesday in Helsinki I flew to Internet Marketing Conference in Stockholm. I was little late so when I got there Maria Ziv and Tommy Sollén from VisitSweden were on the stage with a hundred people in the room.


What it comes to design, usability and interactive features our neighbour beats VisitFinland 6-0. It was really refreshing to see how VisitSweden and actually most of the people in conference are using social media like:
They have tons of user generated content, their traffic increases 50 % each year and they have over 6 800 registered members. Plus they calculate return on investment for their partners - costs of visibility vs. value of bookings through VisitSweden.com. Isn't this neat or what?

But Susan Rice-Lincoln and Patrick Schwerdtfeger remembered that social media is not just about tools. This is a great question from her:
"How can you use social media if you're not social yourself?"
Corporates need to find their own humanity and corporate voice (CEO/CMO?). Companies need a clear and clean vision to create social media success. I really liked Susan's web wheel and how it's showing difference between strategy and tactics.

Mitch Joel is one awesome speaker - really easy and fun to listen (you can check out my video from YouTube or below). Actually IMC people got 2 in 1 when Mitch represented Search Engine Optimization trends and tricks in addition of his keynote. Here's couple of his lines that I want to share:
"Being findable is fundamental. SEO consultants don't have the power to manage outcomes."
Mitch showed with couple of easy to understand examples what the search engine optimization is all about. Want to get #1 result in Google with "click here" term. Then you probably have to beat Adobe and get more than 2,1 million links to your site.

What's more important Mitch talked about social search optimization (Technorati, Twitter, Delicious) as they represent voice of customer right now. Make a social search with your brand and check out what people are talking about you as we speek. Tell me what did you find and what do you think about it. Local search, videos, images, maps and Google profiles - new stuff is pushing the old data down in search results. This is why you need a search engine strategy.

In his keynote Mitch challenged marketing people to re-boot thinking. During decades marketing has shifted from "how many" to "who" (and in my opinion where?). 40 % of all mothers in America are in MySpace, 48 % of leisure time is spent online and half of YouTube's audience is over the age of 34. Marketing is real interactions with real human beings and consumers have power in digital world. Here's couple of good lines from gurus:
“Your brand isn’t what you say it is… it’s what Google says it is.” Chris Anderson – Wired Magazine
And here's some statistics:
  • Community users remain customers 50% longer than non-community users (AT&T, 2002)
  • Community users spend 54% more than non-community users (Ebay, 2006)
  • Community users visit nine times more often than non-community users (McKinsey, 2000)
Based on these facts Mitch was asking what is the future cost of not pursuing an online community strategy now?
"Great marketing is not about technology, it's about understanding why people love you?” Mitch Joel
Chris Goward from WiderFunnel gave a usefull check list to improve your conversions. You can evaluate e.g. your search marketing landing pages and ask if they include the following:
  1. Value proposition
  2. Relevance
  3. Clarity (visual & content)
  4. Anxiety
  5. Distraction
  6. Urgency
During the panel session "Tough times call for tough measures – are there any recession proof online strategies?" Carola Lundell from Electrolux said that they are moving money from traditional media to online. They don't want to 95 % of the audience which are not actually target group, but rather reach 5 % of people who are close to buy. They are concentrating nowadays more on why they are doing something instead of what they are doing.

Rufus Lidman from Anegy said that during the downturn clients are concentrating on nurturing those visitors (customers) companies already have. At the moment companies are doing kind of "free stuff" like search engine optimization, social media and newsletters.

There was also other good presentations about eye tracking, how Wehkamp.nl got their money back in 4 days with TeaLeaf and how small things at website can cost lot of money. I think it was a really good idea to get all the best speakers on stage during one day, congratulations Lennart and Lars. I thing the success day was a real success. Thanks for inviting me in, I really hope to see IMC in Helsinki too! : )



Recap of Web Analytics Wednesday in Helsinki

A week ago we had Web Analytics Wednesday in Helsinki with 86 registered participants. The event covered search marketing and measuring from different point of views. In my opening I told my insights based on activity and publicity in Finland:
”Web Analytics is becoming more and more business critical and early adapters can achieve real competitive edge.”

Erkko Simsiö, Nordic Business Development Manager from Eniro had a presentation "SEM 360 degrees" and he stated the same:
"Search engine marketing is vital for any company nowadays."
IAB Finland's research confirms this pretty much: Paid search and directory listings has grown over 32 % in a year (Q1/2009 compared to Q1/2008). What we defenitely need in Finland is more accurate statistics for search marketing. "Ekku" followed my views that search engine marketing as a whole include directories / local search, maps and social media.
"Because of versatility of search engine marketing it's very important to have a clear search engine strategy." Petri Mertanen
This versatility gives a lot of challenge on web analytics and makes measuring more complex. Strategy doesn't have to be a big, hairy, scary thing. It can be one page long including:
  1. Goals (vision) - answering question why we are doing this?
  2. Means - answering question what areas of SEM we should handle and do in order to achieve previous goals?
  3. KPIs (key performance indicators) and other metrics - answering question how are we going to measure all this?
”Companies which combine paid search, directory listings and search engine optimization at the same time seem to get best overall results." Erkko Simsiö
Our second speaker Arttu Raittila from Tulos confirmed this, but claimed that:
"Often money invested in search engine optimization is just a fragment compared to paid search although lots of searchers ignore advertising completely.
I totally agree with Arttu about paid search being a very good playground for picking up the right keywords for SEO. Many customers have been asking whether to do just paid search or search engine optimization? A recommended tactic has been to do both.

Too many companies measure search marketing concentrating just on clicks (visitors) and price. Ekku said that very seldom heavy traffic and low cost per click (CPC) are good signs for efficient search engine marketing. Arttu who represented how search engine marketing should be measured, had similar message:
"Clicks, visit and visitor metrics are not enough, even measured by a keyword level."
Arttu also stated that landing page bounce rate is the best basic metric for search marketing. In my mind, as it is with other metrics too, you have to combine bounce rate for other metrics, e.g. time per visit, page views per visit and conversion rate of course to get more holistic view on visitor behavioral.
"It is absolutely crucial to define and tag website goals to your web analytics system. In addition to conversion rate, you can and you should measure sales." Arttu Raittila
It is quite easy to track sales online store, possible to measure personal business-to-business sales through lead generation and even off-line sales in stores. Still, according to TNS Gallup's research (pdf in Finnish) only 12 % of companies get information how their paid search generated sales?! Erkko Simsiö told that directories convert people to off-line so company websites don't get hits at all.

According to Eniro's research 60 % of the people who find what they have searched take contact directly or visit off-line store. And 70 % of these visitors convert to buyers! This is very interesting and maybe in the next Web Analytics Wednesday (in September?) we will cover more multi-/cross-channel measurement and off-line conversions.

Arttu also guided that if you measure sales by keywords, you know what keywords work and you can for example raise your maximum cost per click in your paid search campaign. But how up you can go? Let's say you have generated sales of 5.000 euros with 500 visitors - conversion rate 5 % and average order value 200 euros. So every visit is bringing you 10 euros = value of visit. Your profit margin is 10 % when you get all costs off so your maximum CPC, your pain point is 1,00 euro - note: unless you are raising your conversion rate or AOV by better position!

There was little discussion about last click credit. Very good topic and should have more attention in my mind. Ismo Tenkanen from Media Contacts has posted about this (in Finnish). With Google Analytics you can define whether the last click (e.g. natural search) is getting the credit of conversion or the original one (e.g. paid search). Arttu said that Finnish Web Analytics application Snoobi has good feature to give points for passive business-to-business leads. Actually this is very easy to do with any (free?) web analytics application with advanced segmenting features.

During the third presentation Kristo Aaltonen from Get It Right and Tarmo Herlevi from Deferon represented a real customer case. Kristo gave a very good tip for every company:
"You should analyze company's current status, learn and plan a lot before actual doing and trying to have quick wins in search engine marketing."
Kristo also showed a web analytics process model:

1. Defining goals and metrics
2. Data collection
3. Analysis and evaluation
4. Developing marketing activities and content

In my mind and what I wrote about strategy of search engine marketing, defining business goals is very very important. Collecting data is quite easy and anyone can deliver conversion rate reports. But can you measure customer life time value, that is one tricky question...

Analyzing the data is hard and getting good usable insights is even harder. Like Ekku said: "It's more important to analyze data and optimize your campaigns rather than just deliver reports. The most important thing is to find the most valuable keywords.”

I think that the true analyst is measured from the bottom line: how much money you make for the customer? In Deferon's case the turnover increased by 40 % and nowadays almost half of their customers come from Internet channel. Consultants should defenitely measure return on investment:
ROI = results (e.g. improved sales) minus total costs of activities divided by total costs of activities (including media, consultant fee, even customer's working hours etc.)
Last time when I checked ROI with a customer we were down around -40 %. But I'm also sure that this will turn positive in a month or two. : ) Some may say that the last Web Analytics Wednesday was pretty basic stuff, but in my mind there was lots of usefull things to remember. Please feel free and comment or ask a question.